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Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Fate of the Army

Antietam National Battlefield

 
 
The Fate of the Army Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike McKeown, November 11, 2021
1. The Fate of the Army Marker
Inscription.  (1) After defending the Lower (Burnside) Bridge, the Confederates fell back to this ridge and then to the high ground west of this point. When the final Union attack started, there were more than 2,000 Confederate soldiers and more than forty cannon stretching from the National Cemetery south toward Millers Sawmill Road.

(2) Over 8,000 Federal troops, commanded by Gen. Ambrose Burnside, formed on the ridge 300 yards to the east. At 3:00 p.m., the attack began. A few regiments from Gen. Isaac Rodman's division advanced to the high ground 400 yards to the west. Col. Harrison Fairchild declared, "We charged over the fence, dislodging them and driving them from their position down the hill toward the village."

(3) When it appeared that the Federals had finally gotten the better of Lee's army, Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill and his men arrived on the field. Hill and his men started the day at Harpers Ferry and marched seventeen miles to get to the battlefield. The foot weary soldiers slammed into the Union flank. Hill remembered that the "advance was made in the face of the most tremendous artillery fire I ever saw, and too much
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praise cannot be awarded to my regiments for the steady, unwavering step. It was as if each man felt that the fate of the army centered in himself."

Burnside's men fell back to the protection of the ridge 300 yards to the east. That evening over 23,000 Union and Confederate wounded and dead covered the fields around Sharpsburg and both armies maintained almost the same positions as they did when the day began. Neither Lee nor McClellan would renew the battle the next day, and on the evening of September 18, Lee started his retreat across the Potomac River and back to Virgina.

Gen. A.P. Hill
Hill was born in Virginia, graduated from West Point in 1847, then fought in the Mexican and Seminole Wars. He fought in every major Civil War battle in the east. Lee once said that, "next to Longstreet and Jackson, I consider A.P. Hill the best commander with me." Ambrose Powell Hill would not survive the war. He was killed outside Petersburg, Virginia on April 2, 1865,at the age of 39.

Two More Generals Killed
Gen. Isaac P. Rodman
Born in 1822, Rodman commanded a Union division of 3,200 soldiers until he was shot in the chest on the hill in front of you. Taken to a field hospital, General Rodman died on September 20, 1862 at the age of 40. He is buried in his family's cemetery in Peace Dale, Rhode Island.

Gen. Lawrence O. Branch
Born
The Fate of the Army Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike McKeown, November 11, 2021
2. The Fate of the Army Marker
in 1820, this North Carolinian graduated from Princeton. Branch's only military experience before the Civil War was a short stint as a general's aide during the Second Seminole War. At Antietam, General Branch led one of A.P. Hill's brigades. He was the last of six generals mortally wounded at Antietam when a bullet crashed through his cheek, killing him instantly.

(sidebar)
The Day is Finally Done
Approximate Time of Action: 3:00 a.m. to Sunset

Approximate Number of Soldiers Engaged:
Union 8,000
Confederate 4,500
Total 12,500

Approximate Number of Casualties for Each Army:
Union Army of the Potomac
2,200 killed, wounded, missing

Confederate Army of Northern Virginia
1,000 killed, wounded, missing
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is September 17, 1862.
 
Location. 39° 27.206′ N, 77° 44.354′ W. Marker is in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Branch Avenue, 0.2 miles south of Burnside Bridge Road, on the left when traveling south. Located at stop 10, the Final Attack, of the driving tour of Antietam Battlefield. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers.
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At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Brown’s (Wise), Virginia Battery (here, next to this marker); The Advance Was Made With the Utmost Enthusiasm (here, next to this marker); “It Is A.P. Hill” (here, next to this marker); “Forever Free” (a few steps from this marker); Ninth Army Corps (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Ninth Army Corps (a few steps from this marker); D.R. Jones' Division, Longstreet's Command (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named D.R. Jones' Division, Longstreet's Command (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Old Marker At This Location titled "The Final Attack".
 
Also see . . .  Antietam National Battlefield. National Park Service (Submitted on November 12, 2021.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 12, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2021, by Mike McKeown of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 144 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 11, 2021, by Mike McKeown of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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May. 28, 2024